Marginal rise in students attending offline classes

Turnout in unaided institutions relatively low compared to government and aided schools

About one-third of students in schools under the General Education Department in Ernakulam are attending offline classes that resumed on November 1.

As many as 77,782 students had turned up on campuses in the district on Monday after a long break induced by the pandemic. The number went up marginally to 77,900 on the second day. The authorities seem hopeful that it may go up, if there is no major uptick in COVID-19 cases in the coming days.

“We cannot arrive at an accurate estimate of attendance in offline sessions, as only students of classes 1 to 7 and 10 and 12 are allowed in the first phase. Only one-fourth of students in schools having intake capacity higher than 1,000 need to attend the physical mode of learning as per the guidelines,” said Honey G. Alexander, Deputy Director of Education, Ernakulam.

The bio-bubble model proposed by the government as part of school reopening had recommended that a small batch of students restrict their interaction to members of the group and a limited number of teachers and staff. Members of a bio-bubble will not mingle with those of another bio-bubble. Officials pointed out that the entire bio-bubble would be directed to go into quarantine, if one member develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Teachers check the body temperature of students attending offline sessions using thermal scanners. Special focus is being given to avoiding crowding and sharing of learning materials or food items among students. On the updated status of maintenance works in schools, the authorities said managements had been given three months’ time to replace the roof of buildings made out of asbestos or aluminium sheet.

Unaided schools

The turnout of students in unaided institutions remains relatively low compared to government and aided schools. Several parents had cited non-availability of school bus services as a hurdle to sending their children to schools. With classes getting over by noon, working parents find it difficult to drop and pick their children within the limited class hours.

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